May 11, 2017

Are People a Company’s Most Important Asset? (Part 1/5)

May 11, 2017

Are People a Company’s Most Important Asset? (Part 1/5)

Marketing Strategy

Are people in your organisation your most important asset? Or are they your biggest liability? Find out how people can be your most valuable asset in Jeff Coopers interview with the founder and managing director of Checkside, Chris Bates.


This blog post is part of a 5-episode series. To watch the next episodes, click on the links below.
  • Part 2: On Strategy and Execution: Which Is More Important?
  • Part 3: First Steps in Connecting People to Business Strategy
  • Part 4: Connecting People to Strategy: The Advanced Course
  • Part 5: The Biggest Mistakes in Recruitment

The text that follows is an edited transcript of the interview.

Jeff Cooper: All right. Today we’ve got Batesy. For those of you who want to google him — Chris Bates from Checkside, a good friend and also a really important strategic partner for us here at Step Change. Checkside is a company that’s all about connecting strategy with people, which is so important, so it’s no surprise that we tend to hang out together.

So the first question I’ve got for you — I wanna get a little bit controversial, if that’s okay. Just clear it up for us: are people a company’s most important asset or not?

Chris Bates: I think that’s something that gets thrown out there quite a lot that people are your greatest asset.

JC: It’s true, is it not?

CB: Look, the short answer is, if those people understand the game plan and are helping you win, then I think they absolutely can be, and most people will agree with that.

I think the issue is if everyone’s not on the same page, then people can be your biggest liability, as you know, people are technically one of your largest costs.

And I think the responsibility of the employer is to show people how they can win. So if you want them to be on the same page, it’s the job of the employer to say, “Here’s the strategy. Here’s the business model. Here’s how we keep score. Here’s how you win in business or win in business with our company.” So line those things up, and absolutely people are your greatest asset. But it always starts with the owner and the strategy of the business.

JC: Great, so it falls back on us. Awesome.

CB: Always.


To know more about how your business can connect people to strategy, visit Checkside’s website.



Chris Bates is the Founder and Managing Director of Checkside. He’s responsible for setting the vision and driving the strategy of the business. He guides clients through operational succession planning, business structuring, remuneration design, and the management of senior executive recruitment projects.

Jeff-Cooper.jpegJeff Cooper is Step Change’s Founding Partner. Jeff learnt his most valuable lessons in strategic thinking by spending his own money. His entrepreneurial pursuits began back in 2004 when he started his first business, designing exhibition spaces and running events, eventually giving birth to an interactive event concept later adopted by the likes of Big Day Out and other major festival organisers. A decade later, in 2014–2015, startups Jeff was involved in raised over $1m in investment, and Step Change — which he co-founded — became a multimillion-dollar strategy consultancy, serving clients across five continents. He’s a true generalist, with ownership and Board interests in businesses from retail solar to beauty and beyond, at life stages from startup to over $150m revenue annually.



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